The Droving (2020) Movie Review

Director: George Popov

Writer: George Popov, Jonathan Russell (Screenplay)

Starring: Daniel Oldroyd, Suzie Frances Garton, Amy Tyger, Jonathan Lawrence Risdon, Bobby Robertson

Plot: A man returns from the military in search for his lost sister, who mysteriously went missing around the time of a strange traditional festival called ‘The Droving’.

Runtime: 1 Hour 20 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Suspenseful

Story: The Droving starts as Martin (Oldroyd) returns home from a military stint in search for his sister Megan (Tyger) who has gone missing, Tess (Garton) gives Martin the information she knows about, which includes a strange festival that was happening at the same time, which sees Martin starting his investigation.

As Martin heads into the wilderness, he starts to learn about the locals, with some offering clues, while others teach him about the ritual that is meant to be happening soon, each step is giving Martin the clues to what might have happened to Megan.

Thoughts on The Droving

Characters – Martin is a soldier that is going in search for his missing sister, he is trained in military defence which gets highlight in how he deals with threats and will push the limits in looking for answers, as we learn more about his past when he was in the services. Tess is the friend that gives Martin an update with what she does know about Megan’s disappearance, she is clear with everything that she knows. Megan is the sister that has done missing, we learn about her more from Martin knowing how she thinks and in flashback of their times together. We do meet other people that could offer clues along the way for Martin.

PerformancesDaniel Oldroyd in the leading role is the star of the show, he carries the film with his delivery, which will make you a mix of scared and respect for his character through the film. When it comes to the rest of the cast, they all do a good job as they will being filling in the story through the film.

StoryThe story here follows a soldier that goes in search of sister after she went missing, his investigation takes him into a festival which will see him diving into superstitions. When we look at this story, the best way to describe it would be to say it has the same feeling as ‘The Kill List’ with how it seems to start very normal, before diving into the supernatural incidents. The story is explained in the way that Martin will learn things, does help us question everything we are learning, even if it does also fall into the story telling style of, go here, then here, learn this, go here, see this person, learn more. It does keep it simple to follow and does balance the lines between reality and superstitions.

MysteryThe mystery in this film comes from seeing how Martin is trying to learn the truth about his sister, we learn like he does and it will go in a direction that he wasn’t expecting.

SettingsThe film uses the settings to show us how village can still believe in strange beliefs which will see them being unwelcoming to strangers, add an air of tension to the film.

Scene of the Movie – The Hermit chat.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – The dumb kid’s behaviour.

Final Thoughts This is a suspenseful mystery that does keep us guessing through the film, we will be left wondering what did and will happen as the investigation continues.

Overall: Erie Thriller.

Agatha and the Truth of Murder (2018) Movie Review

Director: Terry Loane

Writer: Tom Dalton (Screenplay)

Starring: Ruth Bradley, Ralph Ineson, Tim McInnerny, Pippa Haywood, Blake Harrison

Plot: In 1926, with her personal life in tatters and her writing in crisis, a young Agatha Christie decides to solve a real-life murder.

Tagline – Some people have a taste for murder..

Runtime: 1 Hour 32 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Nice Murder Mystery

Story: Agatha and the Truth of Murder starts as the great Agatha Christie (Bradley) is struggling with her latest novel, with the readers being able to guess who the killer or killers are, going through a divorce, she isn’t willing to sign.

When one of her fans Mabel (Haywood) visits, she asks Agatha to try and solve a real crime on a train, one the police can’t figure out, seeing this as a way to get out of her writers block, she goes to attempt to solve this crime, with suspects that could come out of her own novels.

Thoughts on Agatha and the Truth of Murder

Characters – Agatha Christie is the great author, whose murder mystery novels have the large following, she is struggling to find motivation with her latest novel because her readers can guess the impossible killer. Her personal life is falling apart too, with an unlikely visit giving her a chance to experience solving a real murder. Mabel is the woman that comes to Agatha for help solving her friend’s murder, one that could have suspects from every angle of her real life, she gives her the information and joins in the trying to solve the crime. Detective Inspector Shore is the only real police involved in trying to solve the case, as other members of the gathering start getting killed, as the finger pointing increases.

PerformancesRuth Bradley in the leading role is great to watch, diving into the role of the legendary author. We have a host of British talent in here with Ralph Ineson, Tim McInnerny and Blake Harrison filling out the cast well showing the talent within the country.

StoryThe story here follows the mystery behind Agatha Christie missing 11 days, which have never been explained, showing how she escaped the troubles in her life, to solve a real murder. This does turn into a murder mystery that could have come out of the novels of the author, which will keep us guessing like the detective, in this case herself. We do get glimpses into the real life troubles Agatha was going through, it also shows that post-war life that does have people suffering in private and shows moments of heroism that they achieved in war. If you like a murder mystery, this story is an easy watch that could be enjoyed by all.

Crime/MysteryThe film sees Agatha Christie becoming the detective, like her creations to try and solve murder, with plenty of suspects to keep us guessing along with the mystery.

SettingsThe film here is set in a big house, which shows how the rich would be looking to get the money from the deceased, showing how they are more comfortable in the upper class of society.

Scene of the Movie – The truth.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – It does feel like any murder mystery that could be in any British murder mystery show.

Final Thoughts This is an enjoyable murder mystery that does keep us guessing while taking a fresh approach to how Agatha Christie might have gotten her inspirations.

Overall: Murder Mystery 101.

Eye for an Eye (2019) Movie Review

Director: Francesco Cinquemani, George Gallo

Writer: Francesco Cinquemani, Luca Giliberto, Richard Salvatore (Screenplay)

Starring: John Travolta, Morgan Freeman, Brendan Fraser, Famke Janssen, Ella Bleu Travolta, Robert Patrick, Peter Stormare

Plot: Inspired by classic film noir, Carson Phillips, an ex-football star turned PI, has a soft spot for a lady in distress.

Tagline – A Private Eye. A Public Murder. A Perfect Crime.

Runtime: 1 Hour 38 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Wishes it had the Style it Wants

Story: Eye for an Eye starts as we meet former American football star, turned private investigator Carson Philips (Travolta) who likes to gamble and help a lady in trouble, with his latest case bringing him back into battle against a mob boss Doc (Freeman), who offers him chances to walk away.

Carson wanting to help Jayne (Janssen) and her daughter Becky (Bleu Travolta) who is getting the blame for her husband’s death in the middle of a football match, one which injury don’t make sense.

Thoughts on Eye for an Eye

Characters – Carson Philips was once a star American footballer, who through away his career by gambling, he has turned to being a private investigator, where he gambles still on the side. His latest case will take him back to his home team, where he finds himself needing to solve a case which involves an old love and an old enemy. Doc is the local mob boss that will always win on the tables and get what he wants, he knows how the get the most out of the people in his life, offering them deals to get out of the debts they face. Miles is the doctor at a specialist hospital that will give the correct answers to get people to leave and once played against Carson on the football pitch. Jayne is the ex-love of Carson who has turned to him to help fix the accusations being thrown towards her daughter, even if his husband made her hated within the town.

PerformancesJohn Travolta is the strongest of a weak performing cast who mostly all look bored delivering their lines. Having such a talented cast does leave us feeling disappointed in what they have to work with.

StoryThe story here follows a private investigator that returns to a town where he once was a star football player, only to find himself in the middle of a bigger issue that shows a crime that he must solve before it gets deadly. This does play out how you would expect in a mystery, it gives us clues which sends Carson to each different location, with each location then sending him to a new place, slowly unlocking a new location or suspect, it might well all add up, which is fine, only it just doesn’t get an intense as it could have.

MysteryThe mystery in the film is what Carson finds himself trying to solve, it doesn’t feel like one that is meant to be as interesting as it should have been.

SettingsThe film does give us a town where you can see everybody knows everything about each other, with each building being used to show us the unique style for the town.

Scene of the Movie – Miles secret.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – Nobody really looks interested in being here.

Final Thoughts This is a simple, slow and lacks the style it could have done with to make it stand out more, as the actors don’t look interested.

Overall: Forgettable.

Disappearance at Clifton Hill (2019) Movie Review

Director: Albert Shin

Writer: James Schultz, Albert Shin (Screenplay)

Starring: Tuppence Middleton, Hannah Gross, Marie-Josee Croze, Eric Johnson, David Cronenberg

Plot: Follows a troubled young woman returning to her hometown of Niagara Falls, where the memory of a long-ago kidnapping quickly ensnares her.

Runtime: 1 Hour 40 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Tidy Sleuth Detective

Story: Disappearance at Clifton Hill starts as Abby (Middleton) and her sister Laure (Gross) coming together after their mother passes away, leaving them in her will, with Abby not wanting to just cash in on the offer they received. Abby wants to continuing running the family business, only this brings back a memory for her.

Abby starts to get haunted by the memory of what she once saw back in her childhood, a boy kidnapped, only nobody would believe her, now she starts to try and put the pieces together, which sees her look into the local areas history to learn who the boy might have been.

Thoughts on Disappearance at Clifton Hill

Characters – Abby is one of the sisters, she wants to keep the family memory together even if the money would be better for both sisters, she has a history of telling stories that nobody would believe, which leads her down the trail of something she believed she saw as a child, a kidnapping. The deeper she investigates the more she believes she is going to learn the truth, going full sleuth detective on the case. Laure is the sister to Abby who has always been there for Abby and is used to hearing her stories, she does want her to stop the stories and just focus on her life once again. We do many different people that Abby sees as part of the story she is trying to put together, each with their own story.

PerformancesTuppence Middleton is the star attraction in this film, she brings her talent to the front and centre, making us wonder about her character’s mindset, whether her story is true or not, keeping us guessing to what she might do next. When we look at the rest of the cast we do get to see just how each character plays out without giving the rest of the cast that many scenes.

StoryThe story here sees two sisters reunited to deal with an inheritance, only to clash over what they want, which brings back a memory for one about a kidnapping, a case that never got report, but they want answers about. This story does show how people can tell a story which does have truth despite having a reputation that might question that story, we see how this could change their lives and solving it could be the only thing that keeps them going. Strangely it does feel like we are watching a run of the mill detective episode, which leads Abby in different directions, with wild characters you simply wouldn’t come across in daily life. Away from that the pace of the story is strong and does do a wonderful job at balancing the idea of which side of the story is true.

MysteryThe mystery here comes from what Abby saw as a child, just whether it is true or not, it does have an interest case to which we are being left to see unfold.

SettingsThe film uses the settings to show how close to the border everything is happening in, this will become key for the Niagara Falls setting during the film.

Scene of the Movie – Returning home.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – Diner with the tamers.

Final Thoughts This is an interesting mystery that shows one person’s determination for the truth to put their own mind to rest, where Tuppence Middleton shines in.

Overall: Mystery Entertainment.

ABC Film Challenge – Catch Up 2019 – V – The Vanishing (2018) Movie Review

Director: Kristoffer Nyholm

Writer: Joe Bone, Celyn Jones (Screenplay)

Starring: Peter Mullan, Gerard Butler, Emma King, Gary Lewis, Connor Swindells, Ken Drury, Gary Kane

Plot: Three lighthouse keepers on the remote Flannan Isles find a hidden trunk of gold, leading to their mysterious disappearance.

Tagline – What’s left when the light goes out?

Runtime: 1 Hour 47 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Solid Mystery

Story: The Vanishing starts as the two experienced lighthouse keepers Thomas (Mullan) and James (Butler) take rookie keeper Donald (Swindells) to Flannan Isles for their stint on the island. The three go through the normal actions until after a storm washes up a small boat, with a trunk, giving Donald a fight against the lone survivor.

When the men open the trunk they learn it is filled with gold, Donald and James want to keep the gold, while Thomas isn’t willing to risk his career, even though he comes up with a plan to get the gold back to the mainland.

Thoughts on The Vanishing

Characters – Thomas is the head lighthouse keeper, he has 25-years of experience and is willing to give the youngster a chance on his team, he has been through his own tragic events with his job being the only thing he has left, he will remain calm through all the events, knowing how the defuse the situations the men find themselves going through. James has been part of the team for years, he has always struggled for money back home, though he will keep his family safe with his job. Donald is the youngster member of the team, he isn’t used to the sea environment and finds himself facing challenges he shouldn’t do, when the events start happening. These characters are based on the real people, that nobody heard from again, this is hard to tell just how much would have been turned into more drama or how much would have been real.

PerformancesPeter Mullan is great in the leading role, he shows all the calm required for this role with everything that is going on around him. Gerard Butler gives one of his better serious roles, not playing into the action hero he has become more famous for. Connor Swindells is strong through the film too showing the loose cannon side of his character too.

StoryThe story here is based on a true event of three lighthouse keepers that disappeared, what we see is the story created around what happened to these men, as they discover a trunk of gold and must protect it from the people that claim it is theirs. By basing this on a true story, it does make it difficult because it is looking at a mystery about what did happen, even though nobody really knows what happened. The only thing we do know, is that the men disappeared during their stint on the island. The story here shows how they wanted to fight to keep a treasure washed up on the island and how the original owners came back in search of their own gold, dealing with the consequences of actions over anything else. There is nothing supernatural, it is all about human actions, reaction and emotions.

Crime/MysteryThe crime side of the film shows how the three lighthouse keepers are left pondering what would happen to them after their actions and whether they would be able to keep the gold, a lot of character driven to what they are afraid off if they return, living with what they did. The mystery should be more front and centre, this is meant to be about what happened to these men on their time spent on the island, only we don’t focus on that or investigating what might have happened.

SettingsThe film does use the setting of a remote island of the coast of Scotland to create moments of tension as the idea that these men are dealing with a lot of emotional factors, means they have nowhere to go for help and between them, they aren’t always helping each other out.

Scene of the Movie – They are on the island.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – Not really solving the mystery of what happened to these men in real life.

Final Thoughts This is an interesting look at characters who would be trapped on an island alone for a stretch of time, when it comes to treasure and consequences, only it doesn’t seem to solve the mystery of what really happened.

Overall: Interesting Character Study.